Minnesota

“Minnesota men” go to trial (16) [updated]

Featured image Judge Davis’s concerns about maintaining order in the courthouse were well founded, to say the least. He knows what he is doing, or trying to do. While we were waiting to be admitted to Judge Davis’s courtroom this morning a few mintues ago, a rumble broke out between Somali factions in the hallway. A young Somali woman started yelling that she would not be instructed where to sit by another »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (15)

Featured image Conspirator turned government informant Abdirahman Bashir completed his testimony during his fifth day on the stand yesterday. Defense counsel Bruce Nestor represents Abdhirahman Daud and is the best lawyer at the trial. He aggressively cross examined Bashir about his role promoting the trip to San Diego that culminated in the arrest of Daud and Mohamed Farah. (Ruled Omar was arrested in Minneapolis.) Bashir worked with the FBI to promise fake »

Annual Dinner, New Web Site

Featured image The think tank that I run, Center of the American Experiment, has an annual dinner with a distinguished history. We have hosted speakers like Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, George H. W. Bush, George Will, Robert Bork, and many more. Our 2016 dinner was last Saturday night. It was a wonderful event, attended by 870 conservatives. Dana Perino was our speaker. She did a great job, taking every opportunity to mingle »

Not dark yet, cont’d

Featured image Bob Dylan is first and foremost an astounding songwriter. He somehow absorbed the folk, rock, country and blues traditions as a precocious young man and then recapitulated them in his own voice many times over while adding a twist of modernist poetry to the mix. On his seventy fifth-birthday, I want to take the liberty of posting some notable cover versions of great songs you may not have heard before, »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (14)

Featured image Conspirator turned government informant Abdirahman Bashir returned to the stand for a fourth day yesterday. He completed direct examination in the morning before the lunch break. Defense counsel have commenced their cross examination of Bashir and should complete it today. So far my estimate is that Bashir is an effective witness for the government. He recorded hours of conversations with defendants beginning in February 2015, culminating in the arrest of »

Not dark yet

Featured image Today is the birthday of Minnesota native son Bob Dylan; he turns the ripe old age of 75. He is a remarkable artist, self-invented, deep in the American grain. A few years back I visited Dylan’s old home at 2425 7th Avenue East in Hibbing. The house is a small two-story residence with a one-car attached garage on the side. The house is exactly two blocks from Hibbing High School, »

Through the media looking-glass

Featured image The terrorism trial in progress before Judge Davis is important and interesting, but is difficult to understand through a media filter. The national media have mostly shied away from the trial. A couple of recent articles, however, offer exhibits A and B in the imposition of a gauzy filter over the case. The Los Angeles Times’s Matt Pearce took a detour from his trip to Minneapolis on the Prince beat »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (13)

Featured image The recordings made by conspirator turned informant Abdirahman Bashir took center stage for three hours at the trial of the three “Minnesota men” on Friday. They came in “fast and furious,” including so many items of interest that I found it hard to keep up as they were played in court. I therefore overlooked several in my post yesterday. Here is one with a little help from the Star Tribune’s »

Patrick Hogan would prefer not to

Featured image Conspirator turned informant Abdirahman Bashir testified to his former employment at the airport in the terrorism trial in progress before Judge Michael Davis in Minneapolis this past Thursday. I immediately wrote Metropolitan Airports Commission public affairs officer Patrick Hogan to ask for basic information regarding Bashir’s employment at the airport. It was information of the kind that Hogan had previously provided me on co-conspirator Abdirizak Warsame, who also worked at »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (12)

Featured image Conspirator turned FBI informant Abdirahman Bashir remained on the stand as the prosecution played three more hours of conversations with the defendants that he secretly recorded in February, March and April 2015. Judge Davis excused the jury for the weekend at 12:30. During their opening statements, defense counsel portrayed the three defendants as innocents ensnared by the government. Defense counsel sought to create the impression that their clients’ interest in »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (11)

Featured image Conspirator turned FBI informant Abdirahman Bashir testified all day Thursday. Bashir is one of three key witnesses, but if the prosecution has a star witness among them, it is probably Bashir. He is likely to remain on the stand through the half-day of the trial this morning. The highlight of Bashir’s testimony derives from his work undercover for the FBI once he turned informant in early 2014. He recorded conversations »

Minnesota men go to trial (10)

Featured image Conspirator turned FBI informant Abdirahman Bashir continued his testimony this morning. Bashir sought to join ISIS in Syria during 2013 along with the defendants. Just before lunch he testified that the FBI told him they would help him get his job back at the airport if he cooperated. What??? Bashir would therefore have been employed at the airport while he was seeking to join ISIS. Assistant Untied States Attorney just »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (9)

Featured image A minor witness testifying briefly yesterday made for a highly symbolic moment during the trial of the “Minnesota men” charged with conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS. In mid-afternoon The prosecution called Bashi Ibrahim to the stand. Ibrhaim required a Somali translator for his testimony. Though he arrived in Minnesota with the first wave of Somali immigrants almost 25 years ago, in 1992, he was unable to understand the »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (8)

Featured image When the first group of “Minnesota men” were charged with conspiring to join ISIS in April 2015, it made headlines in page-one stories all over the country. Scott Shaen reported in the New York Times, for example, “6 Minnesotans held in plot to join ISIS.” In the Wall Street Journal Andrew Grossman shared a byline with two other reporters announcing “U.S. charges six Minnesota men with trying to join ISIS.” »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (7)

Featured image Abdullahi Yusuf (pictured in the thumbnail on the home page) was the first three key prosecution witnesses to testify at trial. Yusuf has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide material assistance to ISIS by joining the group in Syria. Three of his alleged co-conspirators and “former friends,” as he called them, are the defendants on trial. Yusuf’s cross examination extended through mid-afternoon yesterday. Representing Abdirahman Daud, defense attorney Bruce Nestor »

It’s the Islam, stupid

Featured image The professional journalists covering the trial of the “Minnesota men” before Judge Michael Davis include the Star Tribune’s Stephen Montemayor. I rely on his work, as well as that of MPR’s Mukhtar Ibrahim and Laura Yuen, even when I am sitting next to him in court. Montemayor is a good and indefatigable reporter. If you want to know what’s going on during the day at trial, follow him on Twitter. »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (6)

Featured image On Friday one of the prosecution’s three key witnesses took the stand at the trial of the three “Minnesota men” contesting the charges that they conspired to provide material support to ISIS. Abdullahi Yusuf is one of six “Minnesota men” who have pleaded guilty to the conspiracy (I’m using his mug shot for the thumbnail on the home page). Testifying under a cooperation agreement with the government, Yusuf provided a »